DLA Piper and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more commonly known as the UN Refugee Agency, already have a long-established relationship spanning across more than 10 years. The firm has provided more than 8,500 hours of pro bono legal support to UNHCR since 2012 with a value of more than $3 million.
Now, the two organizations are embarking on a new phase of their partnership, which will focus on the co-development of unique responses to the refugee crisis, including innovative finance models and impact investment.
The partnership will look to enhance refugee integration and will advocate for impactful, systemic change, among other goals.
In just the first three years, DLA Piper plans to provide pro bono support valued at over $3.7 million, eclipsing the $3 million it spent over the past 10 years. It will also contribute financially to the agency's global programs.
Simon Levine, DLA Piper’s global co-CEO, explained the significance of the partnership for less fortunate people around the world:
We are honored to enhance our partnership with UNHCR. This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the organization's work and, ultimately, support displaced people all over the world. The current crisis in Ukraine is just one example of why UNHCR's work is so critical. Legal protections are especially important when people's lives are uprooted and they face challenges such as lack of basic shelter, violence, exploitation, and restrictions on freedom of movement. As part of this new phase of the partnership, we will be working with UNHCR to support a fairer, more effective system, to develop new approaches, and to help foster inclusion as people rebuild their lives."
UK for UNHCR, the UNHCR’s official UK charity partner, is responsible for developing humanitarian partnerships with British corporations that support global relief efforts for refugees.
After the announcement of the partnership, Chief Executive Officer of UK for UNHCR Emma Cherniavsky echoed Levine’s sentiments: "We greatly value this new partnership with DLA Piper which builds on ten years of valuable support for UNHCR's work. People fleeing conflict and persecution are amongst the most vulnerable people in the world, with many on the front lines of the climate crisis or facing significant barriers to employment, and DLA's partnership will help deliver innovative solutions to support them."
If this new partnership proves successful, DLA Piper’s fellow big law firms will no doubt follow suit in forming such high profile pro bono affiliations of their own in the near future.